Checking for brake problems can save money and lives


Brake problems can be intimidating even for the most experienced and headstrong of drivers. After all, brakes are one of the main safety components in your car. Any fault in the car’s braking system could put you and the other vehicle occupants at grave risk. You can avoid most of the problems through regular maintenance. If brake servicing is required, your vehicle will give clear signals. In the event you notice any issues with your braking system, you should have your vehicle inspected by a professional as soon s possible. Timely repairs will ensure your safety and prevent costly repair or replacement costs. Here are the common brake problems that you should watch out for:

Unusual noises

“My brakes squeak” is the most common brake problems auto mechanics hear about. Whenever there is a problem with the brake shoes, you will hear some unusual noises such as screeching, rubbing, squealing, grinding and other loud noises. It indicates that your brake pads and shoes need inspection. The problem should be identified and addressed before worn brake pads cause damage to other parts such as the rotor and result in more expensive repairs.

Burning smell when brakes are applied

A chemical odor when applying brakes on steep roads indicates overheated brakes. If you ever get a pungent odor when braking, you should pullover immediately and allow the brakes to cool. If you don’t do this, the brake fluid can heat up to the extent of causing a brake failure.

Shaky steering wheel

When you apply the brakes and sense some vibrations in the pedal or steering wheel, it could be due to a jagged rotor. The rotor is the brake disc attached to the wheel of the vehicle. When the brake pad presses against the rotor with a set of calipers, the resulting friction causes the car to slow down and stop. Over time, the rotors may get worn out and become serrated. This can cause vibrations in the steering wheel. Only a professional mechanic can level the rotor’s surface to stop the vibrations.

Brake pedal sinks to the floor

This happens when correct pressure is not being maintained in the hydraulic system. It could be a result of a worn-out master cylinder or a leak. If ever your brake pedal sinks to the follow, do not drive. This is the most serious of all brake problems Get your vehicle towed and repaired immediately.

Brake warning light turns on

It could be a sign of a leak in the system. If the brake warning light comes on, pullover immediately and make sure you get the system inspected immediately.

Spongy/soft pedal

Another one of the most serious brake problems. If you find that your brake pedal does not offer as much resistance when you push it, there is a chance that there is air in the hydraulic system. In this case, the mechanic will drain and replace the brake fluid. It could also be due to a leaky braking system originating from the master cylinder, which contains the brake fluid. When there is a leak in the master cylinder, it limits the power transmitted across the braking system and causes the pedal to feel mushy when brakes are applied.

Car pulling to when side when braking

This could result from many different vehicle problems, but commonly it is due to a caliper issue or a bad brake hose. When this problem affects the front brakes, one brake may be working fine, but the other may not work at all. This can cause a pull in the direction of the side that is still working and creating braking force. In case the rear caliper is not working, you may not even notice it.

It is important to have the brakes inspected regularly to identify these issues before they become a bog problem. Scheduled maintenance can prevent most of these problems and keep your vehicle running effectively and safely.


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